Don’t confuse Tana French’s skillful debut In the Woods with Harlan Coben’s latest, The Woods, though there are a few grisly similarities. French serves up an intriguing, genre-bending psychological thriller in the form of a solid police procedural. Dublin murder squad detective Rob Ryan narrates as he and his bright, buoyant partner, and closest friend, Cassie Maddox, investigate the murder and rape of a 12-year-old girl, whose body was left on a Bronze Age altar at an archeological site in the woods near Knocknaree. Twenty years before, detective Ryan had played in these very woods until the ghastly day when his two best mates disappeared and he was found in blood-soaked sneakers, mute, never able to remember what happened. Keeping his childhood trauma a secret from everyone but Cassie, he works this increasingly complex case, looking for links to the past, hoping that lost memories might surface.
Reader Steven Crossley gets the voices right, gives the characters depth and keeps you involved.